The good news; Erick Torres didn't score. The bad news? Neither did the Whitecaps. On a night where Pedro Morales was not in the starting lineup, the Whitecaps failed to muster much of anything, and both sides walked away in a 0-0 draw. It was not a fun match to watch, and with empty seat after seat visible on screen, there really was no stadium atmosphere whatsoever. I'm not going to lie, my eyelids definitely felt heavy during this one.
In the first 45 minutes, the Whitecaps were pit bulls on the ball, led by the energetic Russell Teibert who was easily the team's best player. With Chivas shrinking deep into their own end and playing quite conservatively, the Whitecaps were quick to produce turnovers and launch counter-attacks. However, hungry as the Whitecaps might have played, they had absolutely no idea what to do with the ball once they had it.
I believe it's my colleague Rob Scott doing the player report card this week, and I truly hopes he takes a hard look at names like Salgado, Mezquida, and Hurtado for their lack of impact on the match. Especially a guy like Omar Salgado, who was given plenty of time to show us something, anything in this match. However too often he was effective for only a fragment of a play, squandering the chances that came his way. It's far too early to write Salgado off, but if I were Carl Robinson, I'd think strongly about sticking him back in the starting lineup anytime soon.
Chivas had the best early chance, with Erick Torres having the ball land at his feet in the box in the 13th minute. David Ousted played aggressively and did well to force Torres to mistime his kick, and the ball weakly bounced to Ousted, who held on. Ousted was again very strong in this match, and he doesn't appear to be showing signs of fatigue despite starting every regular season match for the Whitecaps this season so far. Ousted would best Torres again about four minutes later, swallowing up his shot from just outside the box.
The Whitecaps took a swing of their own in the 28th minute, when Omar Salgado was able to get his head on a beautiful corner from Russell Teibert. Salgado appeared to misplay the ball though, and he headed it to a falling Dan Kennedy instead of the gaping net to his left.
Darren Mattocks had taken a knock to his right thigh earlier in the match, and so he was subbed out in favor of Erik Hurtado to start the second half. Mattocks had a good match in which he worked hard, but at the end of the night, he recorded 0 shots. With Pedro Morales a spectator for most of the match, the Whitecaps needed a guy like Mattocks to step up; unfortunately, this wasn't his night.
The Whitecaps really didn't get going until Morales was subbed in for Nicolas Mezquida in the 68th minute. While the attack looked smoother and there appeared to be somewhat of a flow going, the Whitecaps still couldn't break through and score the opening goal. After 92 minutes of disjointed soccer, both teams walked away with a point in a 0-0 draw.
With the Whitecaps in the heat of a tight Western Conference play-off race, two valuable points slipped away. It was especially disappointing to see the Whitecaps take no momentum from that win over Sporting Kansas City last week. It was in fact, a snoozer of a match that left the broadcast team sounding almost apologetic for the end product.
If you're a glass half full kind of guy, then the Whitecaps just extended their unbeaten streak to six games, and David Ousted has three clean sheets in a row. Still, it's tough to not look at tonight as another squandered opportunity for a club that can't afford to have many more.
Lineup: Ousted, Beitashour, O'Brien, Leveron, Harvey, Laba, Teibert, Laba, Salgado (60' Manneh), Mezquida (68' Morales), Fernandez, Mattocks (45' Hurtado)